Actions

Work Header

Photographs

Work Text:

“Fergus, darling, we have something we would like to share with you.” 

 

“Another bairn? Milord, you work fast.” Claire pursed her lips at her son and Jamie hid the smile that tugged at the corner of his lips. 

 

“No, my lad, no jes’ yet.” He glanced over to his wife holding Henry tight to her chest with a knitted sling. “But aye, soon.” 

 

“That’s what you think.” Claire shifted the baby in her arms. 

 

The twins were only a few days old, but impossibly heavy, a trait she blamed on their giant Fraser for a father. Willie was tucked into the crook of Fergus’ elbow and he was cooing over his little sibling. 

 

“Jamie, love, will you go grab my bag?” 

 

“O’ course.” He let go of her hand with a kiss to her knuckles. 

 

He slid the almost empty bag towards her feet and held it up for her to rummage through. When her fingers slid across the slick surface of the plastic, she let out an ‘aha’. 

 

“There is something about me, that we should have told you long ago. But there’s no better time than the present I suppose.” She carded her fingers through each edge of the photographs. 

 

“I knew it! I knew you were La Dame Blanche, maman .” A goofy grin appeared on his face. 

 

“Well, as much as I can attest there are some magical qualities about yer mam.” Claire couldn’t slap her husband's shoulder, too preoccupied with the bundle in her arms, so she was resigned to just a withering glare. “That’s no’ quite it, mo mac.”  

 

“These are photographs, they depict the likeness of someone, or capture scenery.” Tracing her finger over the dark lacquer, she passed the first one to Fergus. 

 

India, it was her last trip with her uncle before she ‘settled down’ with Frank. They cheerfully waited for the instant film to print off as they took in the magnificence of domed marble ceilings and the great arches, a grand building built in memory of an emperor’s wife. Fergus’ jaw hung open as he saw his mother, but much younger than her current state, captured in such a small rectangle. It was one of the few coloured photographs she had of her uncle, and of herself. 

 

“That’s my uncle beside me, Uncle Lamb. We’re outside the Taj Mahal. In India.” 

 

"You say- vous savez que ce n'est pas magique, mais comment ne pas l'être ?” He slipped into his native tongue in disbelief. 

 

“Not magic, science, but I myself have marvelled at it not quite understanding how it works either. Though this kind won’t exist for at least one hundred years, and it will be rudimentary at best.”

 

“One hundred… years?” 

 

“Yes, I don’t recall the exact year photographs were- are invented, but that’s my estimation.” 

 

“How does it work milady? I have seen many portraits, and some are très réaliste, but this is almost like they have put a miniature milady inside. You can’t be very comfortable inside there, non ?” She laughed at her son’s concern.   

 

“Well it’s not me exactly. True, it is just a very realistic portrait. I try not to think too much on it. Leave it to the inventors to know.” 

 

“But milady, one hundred years? Je ne comprends toujours pas .” 

 

“I know it will be a lot to take in, but I know you’re a smart boy.” Claire squeezed his arm that was holding Willie. “I was born on the 20th of October, in the year of out lord Nineteen-Eighteen. Two hundred years from now.” She paused to make sure he was processing this new knowledge. 

 

Fergus nodded for her to continue. “On the First of May, in 1946, I stumbled upon some standing stones near Inverness. Craigh na Dun. They sent me back to here, 1743.”

 

“So that is where you and milord slipped off to, before Culloden and when you sent me off to find room in Inverness.” 

 

“Yes.”

 

“You left through then, after Culloden. Were you trying to escape from me again when you sent me ahead to Inverness?” Fergus fought off the tears by biting his lower lip.

 

“No, Fergus, I’ve never wanted to leave you.” She placed a sleeping Henry into his father’s arms to pull Fergus into her embrace. “You mean so much to us. It’s true I went through on the Battle of Culloden, but I didn’t wish to leave even then. But, Jamie wanted me to, for the safety of me and our unborn child. She didn’t survive the passage, so we returned to place some flowers near the stone in her memory.” Throughout her explanation, she continued to stroke his hair that was tucked under her chin. 

 

Willie began to stir, squished between his mother and brother, and let out a wail. Claire pulled away from Fergus and swiped away the tear tracking down his face. She collected her hungry son and untied the laces of her bodice so he could feed. His fist greedily grabbed at her breast and he latched instantly.  

 

“May I see the rest milady?” He pointed to the stack resting on the table.

 

She was surprised he didn’t ask any more questions, many people would have countless doubts. But not Fergus. He took in the information as if it was as simple as a new way to cook porridge. He held such inquisitiveness, belief, and open-mindedness to any situation. And anything his mother and father said, he knew would be the truth. They were honest people. 

 

“Of course.”